WILTON \u2014 After almost a decade at the helm, Athletic Director Chris McDougal will be resigning from his position at the end of this school year, effective June 30. In McDougal\u2019s letter penned to current and prior students, staff and parents, he said he \u201cmade this difficult decision after carefully considering what is best for my family at this time. While the pandemic has presented all of us with numerous challenges, the past 20 months have also given me the benefit of a renewed appreciation for the importance of family, health, and time to appreciate them,\u201d he said. \u201cFor those reasons, I will be pursuing a variety of opportunities that are more aligned with my family\u2019s needs at this time.\u201d Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said Monday that the district will start a search for McDougal\u2019s replacement starting in January. \u201cThis timeline will allow us ample time to find a replacement and provide an opportunity for Chris to work through a transition with that individual,\u201d Smith said. Under his tenure, McDougal guided and grew a historically succesful athletic program that earned 14 state titles and four FCIAC under his watch. McDougal\u2019s run also saw the reintroduction of Unified Sports, a program that brings students with and without intellectual disabilities together through athletics; the Michael\u2019s Cup, which recognized \u201cscholarship, sportsmanship and athletic accomplishment;\u201d the designation of Wilton High School as a CIAC Class Act School and promoting increased offerings for student-athletes. He also was part of the planning process and eventual implementation of the new track project built at Wilton High School\u2019s Veterans Memorial Stadium, which was initially finished in August. McDougal said he was most proud of his student-athletes being able to \u201clearn critical life lessons about the value of hard work, integrity and discipline.\u201d \u201cThey build self-esteem, forge friendships, develop as both athletes and scholars, and, in many cases, view their coaches and teammates as heroes,\u201d McDougal said. \u201cI have been humbled to not only be a part of this program, but to lead it since July 2013.\u201d Wilton High School Principal Dr. Robert O\u2019Donnell voiced his gratitude, thanking McDougal for his dedication to the school and its student body. \u201cHe is a quality person and professional educator who always emphasized character, integrity and sportsmanship to our student athletes and coaches,\u201d O\u2019Donnell said. \u201cHe embraced our Wilton High School philosophy of academics first and believed deeply in the positive impact that interscholastic athletics has on student health, wellness and academic performance.\u201d Smith shared O\u2019Donnell\u2019s sentiment, saying that McDougal\u2019s contributions were highly valued and he also cited the notable accomplishments of the student-athletes under his watch.